SPASH aims to repeat as conference champions
By Jacob Heid
STEVENS POINT — The SPASH girls’ basketball team has a different look to it for the 2023-24 season.
With former SPASH standout Janel McCarville back at her alma mater to take the head coaching position, a younger team is on the horizon after an 18-8 (11-1) Wisconsin Valley Conference championship season last year.
With five seniors leaving the program, only a few key returning players are back this season.
“We are a young team. We have two returning players who played significant minutes,” McCarville said at practice on Nov. 13. “We have a senior who’s returning off of a knee injury, so really young for the most part.”
Junior Adaleah Nest is one of those returners after she averaged 8.6 PPG her sophomore season.
Starting the season on a high note is always important, and that’s something McCarville has seen early on as she has transitioned into the varsity head coaching role.
“High energy” is something she described the first week of practice as. “A lot of people understand that places are up for grabs, and you know, to give your best on a daily basis. The level we’ve been at for the first week is definitely where I want to be at.”
After leaving a legacy at different levels of the game, motivating the younger players is something that McCarville wants to do at her alma mater.
“Just trying to incorporate some of the things I learned along the way,” she stated. “Trying to just, you know, up the intensity, the level and love for the game and the more [the players] understand, the more love there is.”
In her first season, the Panthers are on the conference title defense.
It’s something the team will work for.
“Obviously, repeat as conference champions. It’s always going to be hard when you’re the reigning conference champion because everyone has a bullseye on your back,” McCarville explained. “I’d like to make a push as far into state as we can as a team.”
SPASH opens the regular season at Appleton North High School on Thursday, Nov. 16.
The Panthers’ first home is vs. Holmen on Friday, Dec. 1, at 7:15 p.m.